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What is insomnia?

If you experience difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or enjoying a restful night's sleep, you may be suffering from insomnia. Insomnia is defined as the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Non-refreshing sleep

How common is it?

Insomnia is a common symptom in the US. Between 50 and 70 million Americans have chronic sleep problems.



Some of the symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Anxiety or frustration about sleep
  • Attention, concentration or memory problems
  • Waking up tired or in pain


Insomnia may be caused by many factors, including the following:

  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Physical illness
  • Caffeine intake
  • Irregular schedules
  • Circadian rhythm disorders
  • Drugs (including alcohol and nicotine)
  • Occasional or chronic pain


Insomnia is classified as:

  • Transient (short term) – lasting from a single night to a few weeks
  • Intermittent (on and off) – episodes occur from time to time
  • Chronic (constant) – occurs on most nights and lasts a month or more

well lived
Sweet, sweet slumber: How we undervalue it, why we need it, and your guide to actually getting it.
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